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DoItYourself graphicThe NAFRI Audio Visual and Graphics Department staff can provide assistance for your presentation and design needs. We can create a new PowerPoint presentation for you. We can create a template for you to use in creating your own presentation. We can also provide nice backgrounds or a dramatic title frame. Or perhaps we can provide something to spice up your presentation such as video, graphics, cartoons, photo retouching, or charts and graphs. We can test your presentation in our auditorium to make sure it presents well on our big screen and with our lighting. Upon request we will proofread and “tweak” your presentation so that it will look professional and at its best. We are available to help make you successful. We do understand how busy an instructor can be.

Microsoft PowerPoint is the industry and the government standard presentation program.
The projected image size in our auditorium is 16 feet by 12 feet. Please format for our projector at 1024 x 768. That means adjusting your laptop monitor settings to 1024 x 768 resolution. This is especially important if you will be presenting with your own laptop connected to our projector.
Set your monitor at thousands or millions of colors to prevent the banding of gradations and harsh color separations. (You can find the settings in the Control Panels.) Any imperfections in your image will be greatly magnified on our big screen. It is recommended that if you need to use a low quality or “bad” photo – use it smaller (less than full screen) or grayscale.

It is best to always use high contrast colors (dark vs light) in your presentation. Our projectors are very bright and the audiences usually prefer to leave some lights on during the class presentations.
Instructors are usually surprised to find that the rules for smaller screens still generally apply to using the big screen. A big screen does not mean you can use a lot of tiny text on a PowerPoint frame. A general rule is less text is best. Use more images and less text. Try not to use your PowerPoint frames as your notes. Remember, if you read all the frames to the audience, they may fall asleep!

Using Fonts
NAFRI AV recommends 40 to 60 point type for simple headers and titles with few words, and 36 points for multiple line headers and titles. For body text, 36 points is average. The smaller the type size and the more lines of text on a frame, the harder it will be to read. If necessary, split the frame into a “continued” frame. A good guide is no more than 8 lines of text to a frame ‒ 10 lines is maximum. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rules. If you have a frame that is hard to split and so it will be difficult to read, it is best to provide a hand-out of that frame for students to refer to. (This should be done for any difficult-to-see frame.) Proper line spacing can greatly improve readability. Ask AV for details. Use an upper and lower case mix for body text. Large amounts of all upper case text can be difficult to read. A serif font (such as Times New Roman) is generally easier to read for large amounts of print than a san-serif font (such as Arial). But a san-serif font generally looks better and is more readable for on-screen text and is easier to read if using light text on a dark background. Keep font styles to a minimum. Preferably use no more than 3 different fonts on a frame, and it is best if they are related in style. If you want to make an impact and use a wild font, that’s great, but keep it to a minimum.

Color: High Contrast Is Best
There should be a good contrast between the text or graphics and the frame background.
If you are using a photograph as a background, watch for split areas of light and dark, such as sky and dark ground. This can present a problem when choosing consistent text colors for your presentation. A solid color eliminates this problem, but you may consider that choice a little bland. Again, choose for readability.
• The color gray is one of the most difficult colors to contrast with. High contrast is best.
• Bright red is difficult for the eye to read for any extended period of time. Use bright red for emphasis only – avoid blocks of red text. Use deeper shades of wine or brick.
• 10% of your audience will have some sort of color perception impairment.

Try to avoid these color combinations:
• Red text on blue
• Red text on brown
• Red text on green
(and vice versa for all.)
• The same value of green and blue used together.
A better choice would be, for example, light lime green text against a navy blue background.

Remember, color projected onto the auditorium screen can look quite different than the color projected on your small computer monitor. Monitors are lit up from the back. Our large projection screen receives light from the front and is washed over by ambient light. Some light colors may look washed out. Try to avoid using yellow or white text on a light or white background.

Use of Line Weights
Lines, combinations of lines, direction arrows, or sweep arrows need to be large enough to be seen well, but not overpower the image. As stated previously, red may actually be hard to see. Soft pale colors, when used small, may not show up well either. Use a color that contrasts well.
Underlining of words and phrases does not always work well because the underlining blurs the word or cuts off the descender letters. Again, choose for readability. Use bold text and/or a contrasting color for emphasis, not underlining.

Templates are provided with PowerPoint. Some of these template designs are very nice and, well, others are not. Audiences have probably seen some of these templates many times. Be creative and design your own! As an alternative, NAFRI AV has CD template collections in a variety of fire and related subjects, as well as more generic backgrounds that you can use or change to suit your own style. Upon your request, we can design an original template and supply graphics just for you. Ask AV staff for details.

Be cautious with the use of animations and transitions. The use of numerous animations can contribute to a presenter actually running out of time! Too many sounds and animations can become irritating in a long presentation. Animations should have a purpose. Keep it big, bold, and simple!

Do It Yourself brochure-download/print

Maria U. Anderson
Visual Information Specialist and
Audio Visual and Graphics Program Lead
520-799-8771  manderson07@fs.fed.us
Eric Steele
Visual Information Specialist
520-799-8772  ericsteele@fs.fed.us
Julie Smith
Training Technician
520-799-8765  jlsmith@fs.fed.us
Brian Hicks
Training Technician
520-799-8773  bahicks@fs.fed.us

Fax 520-799-8785